Let’s Talk: Failed Attempts

No resources today, but just a little insight to me and my journey! I try to make Fridays a little more personal.

Violet (my young adult, work in progress since 2010) has tested the limits of my planning skills. And, oh man. I’ve tried writing on scrap bits of paper and filing it in a folder. The trusty, old notebook method — with very detailed, dot-pointed scenes. I tried the planning software yWriter. I tried going chapter-by-chapter in a word document.

Not one of those methods worked for me.

I’d get stuck around the same spot every time — because I don’t know how the story progresses from there — and I don’t want to move forward, just in case I have to re-do the whole timeline. What if I leave a little space in my notebook, move on to a section where I do know what happens and I RUN OUT OF SPACE? OR HAVE TOO MUCH SPACE??

A nightmare. No way. I can’t let that happen.

I’m a perfectionist and a control freak. Admitting to myself that planning a novel (series) might be a little out of my comfort level was a hard reality. I slid into a slump and turned away from Violet for a little while.

But we try again.

And again

*crumple paper*


Until we get it right.

In more recent times, I’ve tried a pin-board method. Featuring colour-coordinated sticky notes. It made my little organiser heart sing!

My first attempt at this — shockingly — I made the same mistake as the other methods. I tried to plan chronological, detailed scenes and got stuck. Again.

As of today, the sticky notes consist of questions. Each subplot has a colour (key on the side). And when I ask myself a question, I write it up. When I have an answer, I write it up. Three boards, for three books. Three months of calendars underneath to help gage the events over the series.

Is this the right planning technique for me? Who knows. But it has helped me progress. It’s not quite a plan or a timeline. But it’s helped me visualise a bunch of issues I need to tackle. If I realise in a year or two that it’s not the right technique, I’ll try again.

You know the drill, come spill the beans.

(ps: if you attempt this sticky note method, be prepared to invest a lot in sticky notes. you’ll never think you have enough and buy a new pack each time you sniff out the stationary isle. you’ve been warned.)

Kirste x

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